End of the Band

Beginning of Something Wonderful

January 1, 2018
by Rod
Comments Off on What is Seafarers Earnings Deduction?

What is Seafarers Earnings Deduction?

Pay Less Income Tax with HMRC’s SED Programme

For those residents that are employed as a seafarer on a ship may be entitled to a very interesting tax legislation that makes them eligible for 100% tax exemption on foreign earnings. Within this article, we aim to explain the intricacies of this tax deduction and how it applies to the UK and its citizens. After 15 years of legal arguing between trade unions and the HRMC the final laws have been updated as of 2012 and unfortunately, members of the armed forces are exempt from this earnings deduction. We will explain more below.

Yacht crew have long enjoyed tax relief under HMRC’s SED rules. Image: Blue Water Yachting

The first version of the tax exemption came into effect for plenty of reasons. They were mainly designed to make it financially beneficial for UK employees in the competitive job market and pressure in the global labor markets. Since seafarer employed people spend a majority of time outside of the UK, the highly competitive labour market and for defense needs of the UK, legislation was introduced to create the tax break specifically for those who work on ships outside of the UK in foreign waters.

Unfortunately, the rules and laws surrounding the Seafarers Earnings Deduction are hard to translate within the books of the HMRC. However, it is possible to translate these rules and the main requirement is that you work on a ship. What a ship is according to the legislation has no description but what a ship is not is listed. Oil and gas drilling rigs are an exception to this tax deduction as the following listed below are counted as not being included in the tax break:

  • Floating and fixed production platforms
  • mobile offshore drilling units
  • flotels.

Benefiting from the zero tax bill is great for all employees that meet the standards listed above for what does not constitute a ship.

Sadly oil rig workers do not qualify for seafarers earning deduction under HMRC rules. Image: Pacific Standard

When it comes to how much time you can spend at home in the UK you are limited to no more than 183 days per tax year. If you spend more then that amount of time you will go through what is known as a Failure which will alter your ability to take advantage of the Seafarers Earnings Deduction. When it comes to travel days they are counted if you were in the UK at midnight of that particular day.

Another rule that must be fulfilled is that you must embark and disembark from foreign ports. Entering a port or leaving a port from the UK is invalid. Also, you have to spend a minimum of 365 consecutive days outside of the United Kingdom to qualify as a seafarer. As mentioned earlier if you spend above 183 days in the UK or make any other mistakes you will be given a Failure which change your eligibility for receiving the tax deduction. Many seafarers do not understand all the different elements of this tax law and either doesn’t take advantage of it or use it incorrectly. Sometimes an individual that is employed as a seafarer will not declare all of their income.

When you do your tax return it is important that everything is declared. You can declare all of your investments and have your taxes paid back to you except for rental income. It makes a lot of sense to do your tax return properly as you are guaranteed to benefit under the special tax discount. It is good to hang on to receipts including airline vouchers, ship discharge papers, hotel receipts, food receipts, and other paperwork to be reimbursed for your expenses.

Recently with the Open Exchange of Information, you should declare all of your offshore income and have it not be subject to taxes. It is very important, to be honest as the government has ways of finding out tax fraud and it is not worth the risk or consequences. After all, if you do not declare your income on your taxes there is not very much you can do with your money.

After the 18 years of battling between the HMRC and unions, the Seafarers earnings deduction is a great benefit that every UK resident who is employed as a Seafarer on a ship should take advantage of. If you work on an oil or gas drilling offshore rig you will not be able to use this specialized tax exemption. Also those UK citizens who are employed by the military also are exempt from taking advantage of the Seafarers Earnings Deductions. In the future these laws may change but for now these are the basic outlines and guidelines to tell if you qualify for this tax break.

External Sources

This article was created using reference material from the following websites:

November 14, 2017
by Rod
Comments Off on How Much Does an American Barn Cost to Build?

How Much Does an American Barn Cost to Build?

Budgeting for a Timber American Barn Construction

Today we would like to outline and answer the question of how much does an American barn cost to build? The complete cost of an American barn will be completely determined by the cost of the materials and labour. When it comes to labour hiring a contractor to build a barn is typically the most expensive part of building a barn. When you decide to hire and pay a contractor as well as a construction crew, it will make the price of labour a big percentage of the total costs associated with building your dream American barn. If you can build the barn without a general contractor, you will be able to easily reduce the overall cost of building a barn.

There are different options available when it comes to building an American barn. Prefabricated barns are pre-built and delivered in a ready to build format. A few skilled friends or neighbours can easily put together a prefabricated barn in under a few days if you choose a steel option. However, if you choose to build a wooden barn then it could take a few weeks of required construction. Prefabricated barns offer a large amount of savings when it comes to costs and materials. Also, there is never any material waste or wasted expenses.

The Pouring of a Typical Concrete Foundation Footing. Image credit: YouTube

So what exactly are the factors that affect the overall price of building your American barn? Below we have created a list of questions you will need to answer before you go ahead and build a barn. These questions you need to ask yourself include the following:

  1. How many horses will you be housing in your barn?
  2. What size of stalls do you need for your horses?
  3. Do you need to build an additional tack room?
  4. Do you also need a wash rack?
  5. How much space will you need for feed storage?
  6. Will you need a hayloft as a second level?
  7. Do you need to store vehicles like tractors?
  8. Do you need a foaling box?
  9. Will you be feeding your horses within the barn?
  10. Do you need a wide centre aisle in the middle as a pass through?

Now when you are trying to estimate how much it will cost to build an American barn you will have to take into the considerations the costs associated with using them. We have created a list below of features that are a must-have when it comes to creating your overall estimate of how much putting together an American barn will cost:

  1. You will first need to arrange any required demolition, excavations and site preparations.
  2. You will then need to pour a concrete foundation and floor.
  3. You will need to build wood framing using solid woods.
  4. You will need to install high quality wood siding.
  5. You will need to build a roof.
  6. You will need to provide suitable plumbing and drainage.
  7. Proper electrical wiring and lighting will also be needed.
  8. Lastly, your carpentry must be up to code and you will have to hire a contractor.

The overall price of your barn project will greatly depend on the materials you use and methods of construction that you follow. Prefabricated barns will offer you major savings on costs associated with labor and materials. A traditionally built barn will cost around $45 a square foot. However in contrast a prefabricated metal barn can roam in the price ranges of $7 to $25 a square foot.

Ultimately using a steel building will be the cheapest solution when it comes to building an American barn. Your next best option is using a prefabricated do it yourself barn. Lastly building a barn using wooden materials will require that you employ a general contractor so that your barn is built up to the codes needed and required in your area.

A Steel Framed American Barn Under Construction. Image credit: Pinterest

The overall size and complexity of your American barn will determine the price and costs associated. However, they do add value to your home if you were deciding to resell it with American barns bringing 77% resale value of their original costs. Providing your horses with adequate protection from the weather and elements will make them much more comfortable and happy. Also, consider that being able to feed and maintain your horses in one single area makes it a top choice for people rather than building traditional stables.

The costs associated with building American barns will go as far as your imagination in terms of complexity and details that need to be met. They are a sound investment and are becoming more popular across the United Kingdom.

Article Credits

The author wishes to acknowledge the following sites for use of images, text and reference material in the creation of this article:

August 9, 2017
by Rod
Comments Off on How a kitchen makeover can improve the quality of your life

How a kitchen makeover can improve the quality of your life

Invest in a kitchen upgrade for a better lifestyle

Changing the design of your kitchen and remodelling it is a popular home renovation concept that many people choose to do. We will discuss the various ways a kitchen makeover can improve the quality of your lifestyle. As long as you set a budget and go for the optimal style you will know where you can go in terms of upgrading your kitchen. However kitchen upgrades are one of the best ways you can increase the value of your home if you choose to sell it.

When it comes to remodelling your kitchen it is something that requires careful consideration and planning ahead of time. With the kitchen being the hub of your entire home, it needs to be designed in a triangular concept with a focus on the sink, stove and refrigerator. When many different American people were asked what they would upgrade in their homes nearly all of them said that they would upgrade their kitchens. It is a great investment when it comes to adding comfort and style to daily use and as I mentioned, will also add resale value to your property when it comes time to put it up for sale.

Most people who own their own home will agree that their kitchen is one of the most important spaces in the house. Kitchen upgrades is a great way to increase the overall value of your home. You can change an old living area into something exuding style and elegance with as little as new kitchen cabinets and countertops.

You will have to dream up a theme and idea of what you want your upgraded kitchen will look like. It is always a good idea to sketch it down on paper or you can even draw rough outlines on a computer. Keeping your goal in sight with a visual display of what you are working towards will keep you more focused and efficient on detail and renovating your cooking area. As you plan in detail what you want your dream kitchen to look like, also be aware of the space you have and use all of it to the best of your abilities. You can include such things as putting up shelving units on the walls and installing rolling shelving units to utilise every inch of your kitchen space.

Kitchen Island Before & After Renovation. Image credit: Brenda Deeter

Another factor for making your kitchen the best it can be is by adding new appliances. When you choose to remove the worn out and outdated fridge, stove and dishwashing machine you will make your life a lot easier with brand new appliances. It will make the chores of cooking and cleaning that much better and will give you a modern and clean updated look that will enhance the appearance of your kitchen.

When you add a kitchen island you can provide much needed extra counter space and enhance the over all feel of your kitchen. With an island, you can make a feel safe family area for quick snacks or small meals. It also provides you with extra space for other kitchen utilities. If you choose to add a kitchen island to your cooking area be sure that the style, colour and size enhances your kitchen and accents the style already present in the room. An island can do a world of wonders allowing for extra space and if you need the extra space, by all means, add this to your renovation budget.

So how can you tell that it is ready to upgrade and change your kitchen? The first thing that should be on your list if it is time for a change is whether your kitchen appliances are falling apart. Another factor would be your kitchen cabinets losing their colour and shine. If this happens it is time to replace your kitchen cabinets with something new, fresh and modern. When you no longer feel comfortable in your own kitchen is a good sign it is time for a change just like if you choose to not host visitors in your kitchen as well.

There is a lot of different things that come into play when it comes to remodelling your kitchen. You may need to change the fixtures, the walls, ceilings or it may just be better to change the cabinets. There is also plumbing, electrical and heating systems that need to be changed before a kitchen can be completely overhauled and renovated. However you must keep these things in your mind as well as counter space, available storage space, appliances that are built in, sinks and lighting when it comes to making your kitchen that much more comfortable and pleasing for cooking, cleaning, and baking tasks.

Kitchen Appliances Before & After Upgrades. Image credit: Houzz

When you are searching for methods to add value and comfort to your kitchen you will need a solid blueprint. Your kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the entire house and should be high on the list of renovations when it comes to remodelling your home. You should keep your kitchen remodelling ideas to be aimed at upgrading the value of your home as well as making it more user-friendly and convenient for cooking tasks and duties.

Lastly we would like to point out that changing your flooring to a better quality material is always a great idea to make your kitchen more comfortable and your home more valuable in the resale market. Getting yourself a new floor is always a great way to improve your kitchen without spending a lot of extra money.

Upgrading your kitchen to make it more comfortable and usable should be your top priority followed by increasing the value of your home. Since the kitchen is such a frequently used area of your home choosing to remodel it to add comfort is a great idea that we recommend you start planning today. So speak to a specialist kitchen makeovers firm in Maidstone and you’ll soon be offered a whole world of amazing ideas that can transform your kitchen without breaking the bank.

January 29, 2017
by Rod
Comments Off on What To Consider When Looking For Best Running Shoes For A Marathon

What To Consider When Looking For Best Running Shoes For A Marathon

Get kitted up with the right footwear for your run

Running a marathon means that you will be wearing your running shoes for a long distance, hence you need shoes that fit well and offer maximum comfort and support as you run. Most times it is advisable to get new shoes when you are running a marathon rather than using the shoe that you have been training so that you get maximum performance. However, you should try them out during the marathon training.

Some of the things to consider while buying a good running shoe for a marathon are:

Your Stride Pattern

There are three kinds of foot pronation .i.e. Over pronation, where the feet roll inwards, under pronation, where the feet roll outward, and neutral pronation and this affects how you run. For over pronation gets stability running shoes that will help in distributing the running impact while offering maximum support and comfort. There should be adequate cushioning in the heels and provide arch support. For under pronation, choose neutral shoes with extra amount of cushioning that is mostly focused on midsoles and for extra shock absorption, and it should run along outside of the shoe to counter outward roll of your feet. For neutral pronation, get neutral shoes that promote natural foot motion to give a more ground feeling contact. Your pronation pattern will help in choosing the right kind of shoe, hence avoiding the chances of getting injuries.

Running Stride Pattern Analysis. Image credit: Team Chiropractic & Rehabilitation of Ames

How much do you weigh?

Consider getting shoes that have extra cushioning if you are a heavy runner and it will help reduce the stress on your legs and make landing more comfortable as you run. A light runner can get light shoes with less cushioning.

The width of your foot

Measure the width of your feet because this determines the shoe size.   Your foot shouldn’t rub against the shoe and you should be able to wiggle your toes. If you get a shoe that is narrower it will be uncomfortable from the moment you start running. There should be approximately half an inch between the longest toe and the front of the shoe.

The terrain

Your shoe should match the terrain that you will be running on and the shoes differ.If running on a trail that is dusty and has loose pebbles, then get a shoe that has aggressive patterns to give you an excellent traction. Don’t turn one shoe to be a run all long distances because the support foams and cushioning material need to regain their spring for maximum performance.

How your marathon preparation has been

If you have been practicing while wearing cushioned shoes, then get cushioned shoes because this is what your feet are prepared for. In between your training, wear the new shoes and run with them so that you get used to them before the actual day.

Get a well constructed shoe with high quality material

Because you will be running a long distance buy shoes that will withstand long wear and will handle the pressure. One of the world’s best selling running shoes for men is the Asics Gel Cumulus 18, due to its excellent all round comfort, durability and cushioning properties.

Any shoe you choose should be light enough to ensure that your feet are light while running. The upper material should be meshed to allow free air flow so that your feet don’t get sweaty and uncomfortable which may cause blisters.

Asics Gel-Cumulus 18 men’s Running Shoe. Image credit: Asics

Check on the outsole and midsole

The outsole should be well constructed with durable, stiff and flexible rubber and should have grooves that are cut horizontally to allow one to flex at the foot easily. The midsole should   be a layer of soft shock absorbing material so as to offer greater stability and cushioning in the shoe. A thin and firm middle will be hard on your feet, but it is efficient enough, while running while a soft midsole will give the legs more support and legs will feel better at the cost of your running pace. So choosing a type of midsole will be determined if whether you are running for speed or for comfort.

Most marathon runners consider their overall look of their running gear and they chose the best. However, when selecting marathon shoes, don’t buy shoes based on looks, endorsements or popularity because it may not work for you. There are several shoes with different styles and colors and each is designed to meet every runner’s running style. . Therefore the main goal should be having the right kind of shoes for long distance running and comfort rather than fashion.

Talk to a Running Store

Buy your shoes at a running specialty store as they are able to advise you on the best running shoes for long distances because there are different types of shoes. Replace your running shoes often enough so that you get adequate leg support the legs and feet while logging miles. It is recommended to change shoes every three months or after 300 miles.

January 16, 2017
by Rod
Comments Off on How to build a mudroom bench with MDF or plywood

How to build a mudroom bench with MDF or plywood

Keep your shoes neat & tidy with this simple storage project!

A mudroom bench is not only visually appealing in an entrance hall, but also very practical. When it is a rainy day, you need to make sure that whoever comes home takes off his shoes or boots, coat or jacket, and finds where to place the wet umbrella. Unless there is a mudroom bench next to the front door you would end up with footsteps all over the floor, or the difficult proposition of trying to take off all the wet things while standing up.

DIY MDF Mudroom Bench. Image credit: Infarrantly Creative

If you would like to have a mudroom bench at home, you might consider ordering one. However you would need to pay quite a high price for a custom made mudroom bench. Ready-made mudroom benches are not that easy to find, and even if you do it is difficult to find one that will complement the rest of the furniture in your room, or is the size you want it to be to fit in the space available. Moreover you cannot expect to find it at such an affordable price. So, why not try to build a mudroom bench yourself with 18mm cut to size MDF sheets or plywood? It is not that difficult, and with some basic tools you can manage to do it really cheaply.

Let’s Get Started

Start off by measuring the area where it will be placed. Then, based on the space available you can determine the best size and design it. Mark the measurements of the various parts as this will come in handy when you cut the boards and when you start assembling it.

It is best to start off with the seat box, which will be the base of the mudroom bench. The bench seat will start with a plywood box with an open-bottom. Use a circular saw to cut two strips from a plywood sheet as these will be the panels. Then cut out the baseboard. Assemble the box, using the side panels between the other two panels at the front and back. It is best to use glue as well as screws to assemble. Once assembled, place it in front of the baseboard, and mark where the sides of the box will meet the molding. Afterwards slide it into place against the wall, after having marked the position where the sides will fit into the notches ad screw it.

Next comes the hinge support. Use a mitre saw to cut a panel that is the inside width of the box. Screw it along the back of the box into the studs using deck screws. Later this part will be hidden by a plywood strip and molding. Screw L-brackets in the box and to the floor. It is best to have three brackets inside the front edge, and another two on either side. These are important as they will hold the box in place.

Next attach the panel molding to the seat by cutting stiles. Where a horizontal and a vertical stile overlap each other at a corner, place more attention. Glue and nail them using 3″ nails. Make sure to align the edges with the edges of the box, and it may be best to use a narrower stile at the front. If you cut panel molding to fit, miter the ends and nail tightly with 2″ nails. Then frame the other side of the box similarly. Always ensure that the corners are flush with the side panels and then fit the panel molding in the frame you created. Then you can cap and trim the box, and the seat lid. To prevent splitting the wood with the finish nails it may be helpful to dull the points of the nails before tapping them in. This can be done easily with a strike of the hammer. Afterwards you can attach the lid with cabinet hinges. European cabinet hinges are ideal as they will allow the lid to open up completely but at the same time conceal the assembly once it is closed. It is best to allow a 1 inch overlay on the front and on the sides.

Finishing the Build

Now you can mount the bedboard panel to the back. About 4 feet up from the seat is a good measurement. Have someone help you by holding the panels in place, while also ensuring that the rabbets at the edges overlap. Also make sure that the seam will fall on a stud as you will need to have something to screw the edges to. Secure the panels to the wall by using adhesive caulk and screws.

Can you stain MDF? Image credit: Overclockers

If you are going to install a shelf at the top, install the fascia for it, and mount the shelf brackets to it. Secure the shelf by screwing it, and you’re done. You may wish to paint your mudroom bench once it is assembled. It is best to apply two coating of paint for a neater result.

September 5, 2016
by Rod
Comments Off on How to Observe the Sun for Beginners

How to Observe the Sun for Beginners

On average, the Sun is only 150 million kilometres distant – hardly a stone’s throw away in astronomical terms, and being so close, it is an easy object to observe in great detail. However, observing the Sun can be dangerous, and very specific precautions are required to prevent destroying your eyesight, and causing damage to observing equipment. Here is how to observe the Sun safely.

Filter out 99% of the Sun’s light


Image credit: www.medscape.com

Image credit: Medscape.com

Light from the Sun as shown in the image above contains almost the entire light spectrum, which contains many light frequencies that are not visible to human vision. Two frequencies, infrared and ultraviolet, are particularly harmful and all of these frequencies must be filtered out to make solar viewing safe.

However, despite what you may have read or heard, materials like CD’s, smoked glass, several layers of photographic film, and many others are NOT able to filter out harmful light frequencies. The only acceptable filter materials are materials such as aluminium-coated glass and Mylar film that are made to fit over the tubes or objective lenses of ordinary telescopes. The image blow shows a typical solar filter designed to fit securely over the tube of a reflecting telescope.

Image credit: www.firstlightoptics.com

Image credit: www.firstlightoptics.com

Filters like this block out at least 99% of the Sun’s light, including all infrared light that causes optical elements to heat up, and ultraviolet light that can permanently damage the human eye’s retina. Nonetheless, even with the harmful light filtered out, the Sun is still too bright to make out any detail, which is why solar filters suitable for use by amateur observers are designed to allow only light in the Hydrogen Alpha or Calcium frequencies through, which is the frequencies of light emitted by most of the Sun’s visible features.

Of course, there are filters available for scientific observations, but these fall outside the scope of this article. Nonetheless, solar filters should only ever be sourced from reputable dealers that stock and supply purpose-made solar filters that are designed not to fall off, or become dislodged from a telescope or pair of binoculars, which when it happens, can blind an observer in a very small fraction of a second.

Avoid filtered eyepieces

Although no reputable dealer in optical equipment will ever supply a filtered eyepiece today, there was time when this type of eyepiece was widely available. This type of eyepiece incorporated a “solar filter” as a part of the optical elements of the eyepiece, but the unfortunate effect of this arrangement was that since eyepieces are essentially magnifying glasses, the heat build-up in the eyepiece could, (and often did), cause the eyepiece to explode, causing instant blindness.

Use a dedicated solar telescope

Image credit: www.optcorp.com  

Image credit: Optcorp.com

The telescope shown above is dedicated refracting solar telescope that blocks out somewhat more than 99% of the Sun’s light by using proprietary coatings on the lenses. Note that although this particular example has an aperture of only 40 mm, it gathers sufficient light to provide crystal-clear images of solar features such as prominences and filaments.

Telescopes of this type allow only light emitted by hydrogen atoms through, which just happens to be the most active atoms on, or in the Sun. Also, note that while some solar features can be seen by projecting the Sun’s light through a pinhole, features like prominences and filaments of active solar material can only be seen in hydrogen-alpha light, which is what solar telescopes are designed to provide.

Here is what you can expect see with a solar telescope

There is always something dramatic happening on the Sun, and with some luck, you may just see a violent coronal mass ejection on your first view of the Sun through a dedicated solar telescope. Below are some images and details of what you can expect to see…

Solar prominences

Image credit: NASA

Image credit: NASA

Any solar prominence is always a dramatic event. These vast clouds of dense solar material are usually visible just outside of the Sun’s photosphere, and they both created, and held captive by the Sun’s enormous arching magnetic fields that shift around due to the differential rotation between different parts of the Sun. The best views of solar prominences can be had only with a proper solar telescope.


Image credit: NASA

Sunspots are caused when the Sun’s magnetic field breaks in places, and “snaps” back through the solar “surface” as a result. While sunspots may appear dark, or even black in telescopic views, they are in fact only visible because they are about 2000 or so degrees cooler than the surrounding area. Sunspots only occur in an area about 45 degrees north and south of the solar equator, which is where the Sun’s differential rotation is the greatest. Sunspots also always occur in pairs: one spot being the north pole of a snapped magnetic field, and the other being the south pole of the same field. Sunspots can be seen equally well through dedicated solar telescopes and solar filters fitted to normal instruments.

Solar filaments

Image credit: www.astroleague.org

Image credit: AstroLeague.org

Solar filaments are smaller, less violent versions of solar prominences, and their most distinguishing feature is that they can be seen against the Sun’s disc, as shown in the image above. Solar filaments are best viewed with a dedicated solar telescope.

Solar flares

Solar Flares

Image credit: NASA

Solar flares are among the most violent eruptions on the Sun, and they can extend millions of kilometres beyond the Sun’s surface. Flares are caused by sudden changes in the arrangement of the Sun’s twisted magnetic fields, and although the actual mechanism is not yet clearly understood, one does not have to be solar scientist to be awed by the sudden ejection of billions of tons of solar material, which is best seen through a dedicated solar telescope.

July 19, 2016
by Rod
Comments Off on Bird Surveys & Their Importance in a Developing World

Bird Surveys & Their Importance in a Developing World

Protecting the UK’s Wild & Breeding Birds

Did you know that there are more than 500 species of birds recorded in the UK only? These consist of resident birds (which breed both in summer and winter), migrants and birds that occur on passage. From rural to urban areas, birds occur everywhere – and researching, advising and conducting all aspects of bird surveys before developing a project is of utmost importance of their protection.

Protecting Wild Birds: Why Is It Important

The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 dictates that all wild birds, their nests and young shall be protected throughout England and Wales. Killing, injuring or taking any wild bird or damaging its nest or eggs is therefore illegal – and the legislation applies to all bird species, common and rare.

If any nests, are found  during the process of building or upon its completion, any works with the potential to damaging or destroying this nest, eggs or young birds must stop until the birds complete breeding. Birds may nest on machinery or scaffolding and other temporary site structures as well – and any disturbance of a breeding Schedule 1 bird is an offence, regardless of whether this impacts upon the breeding attempt.

If there are birds that nest on machinery or scaffolding and other types of equipment, that equipment cannot be used until the birds finish the nesting process. Breaking the law leads to fines of up to £5000 per offense.

Image credit: RSPB.org.uk

Image credit: RSPB.org.uk

Bird Surveys and Mitigation: Solving This Problem

There are a lot of different bird species that show different preferences in regards to their nesting. While some species are predominantly scrub or ground-nesting, others favour trees and there are several species such as swallows and swifts which have adapted to nesting in on or buildings and man-made structures.

The usual time for birds to build their nests and lay their eggs is between March and end of August – and the peak months for breeding are May and June. However, there are exceptions to this rule – but generally, birds may be found breeding on a construction site during these periods.

This is how breeding bird surveys come to action. They are conducted in suitable habitat with a methodology based on the BTO Breeding Bird Survey (also known as BBS). This procedure starts with a site visit on a minimum of four occasions, where each visit commences at dawn in order to record the numbers and species of birds present.

Deciding If You Need A Bird Survey

Ideally, you should decide if you need to survey. For instance, bird surveys should be done for developments that involve natural habitats such as woodland, scrub or moorland areas, agricultural buildings being changed, converted or demolished. Also, areas that are connected to lines of trees which are connected to woodland or water and trees that are more than 100 years old are included in the most common bird populated areas.

The bird surveys include analysis on all types of birds including barn owls, breeding birds, wintering birds, red and amber list birds of conservation concern and other birds listed in the schedules and sections of the Wildlife and Countryside and Natural Environment and Rural Communities acts accordingly.

June 22, 2016
by Rod
Comments Off on How a Newly Fitted Kitchen Can Transform Your Home

How a Newly Fitted Kitchen Can Transform Your Home

Have you ever wondered what is the single most important room in your home?

While most people say this is the bathroom or living room, it is in fact your kitchen! After all, it is the place where all the supplies are kept and where your food is created. It can also be the place where you have breakfast and dine with your family. Therefore, transforming your kitchen with proper kitchen fittings is one of the worthwhile investments you’ll ever make.

Looking For Premium Kitchen Fittings? Here’s 3 Things To Look For!

When choosing your kitchen accessories and fittings, you should have some factors in mind. While proper fittings make your kitchen appear slicker, they are also very efficient and durable. Here are 3 crucial aspects of kitchens and fittings in London you can take advantage of:

  1. Kitchen Faucets – Yes, a kitchen faucet may just be a normal tap. However, it plays a great role in your cooking. For example, a non-functional or defective faucet is something you cannot cook or work with. That is why all the interior design contractors recommend only using the top rated kitchen taps that are durable, multi-functional and cost effective.
  2. Kitchen Cabinets – Obviously, kitchen cabinets play the most important role in your kitchen. They are there to build up all of the storage space of your kitchen and store as many things as you need. Therefore, they must be spacious enough – yet compact enough for ease of use. You should be able to clean all the cabinets and cupboards easily. Wooden cabinets are by far one of the best kitchen fitting options, with the wood being of utmost quality and well varnished as prevention from a wear and tear over time.
  3. Cooking Stations – A cooking station is the most integral part of the kitchen. No matter how much time you are spending in cooking, you need to get done at a time – and top-notch cooking stations can help you in this manner. Choosing double or tetra top stations and electrically heated induction tops will ensure you of a lot more efficient and safer cooking process.

Every kitchen needs these essentials – and apart from them, can be accessorized to your tastes and needs. That way, you will be able to….

Transform Your Home With Premium Kitchen Fittings

Whether you want to replace only the cupboard doors in your kitchen or the entire fittings, giving a facelift to your kitchen is something that will improve your home dramatically. Aside from increasing its value, it will also increase your home’s price tag and add a considerable amount of value to your home – especially if you look for the best products and use the best out of the space you have.

Getting a mixture of colours can be a dramatic experience for you if you don’t consult with an interior designer. There is a lot more than just styles and colours when it comes to your kitchen. For instance, every great kitchen needs the best space-saving essentials, the proper lighting and a blend of modern and sleek design. When working with property refurbishment contractors in London, you will know how to get the most of these features in your new (or renovated) kitchen.

Another thing you should be aware of are your sockets, switches and outlets. Many people are ‘hypnotized’ by the design of their kitchen and therefore overlook these important aspects. Make sure that your kitchen has enough room for enough sockets and power outlets so that you make the most of your cooking and enjoy an organized space.

Last but not least – is to make sure you choose the right contractor to fit your kitchen. To do this, it is always handy to ask about their previous work they have done or see for references you can check. After all, you certainly don’t want to go through all of the trouble of designing the perfect kitchen and fitting it badly.

February 22, 2016
by Rod
Comments Off on Family Lawyers: How to choose one for your litigation case

Family Lawyers: How to choose one for your litigation case

Affordability is often the first thing that comes to mind for people who are looking for solicitors in Kent an done form that offer great service and affordability is Worthingtons Solicitors. However affordability is not what one should look for only. This is because most likely a solicitor who charges low rates is either inexperienced or not much in demand. However a seasoned professional who has plenty of experience in cases such as yours might be too costly for you. However, without such legal assistance chances are that you may not get what you want in terms of child visitation rights, child custody and other arrangements that need to be seen to once the divorce or separation is finalized. Therefore when it comes to family law solicitors you need to forego a bit on the costs so as to focus on quality of service, as ultimately the finalization of the case is what matters the most.

There are several solicitors in Kent who bill clients on an hourly basis. Others charge a flat rate which is calculated on the total number of hours that they think will be involved to finalize the client’s case. Often however it is difficult to estimate the total number of hours needed to finalize a divorce for instance, as complications may arise and not even the solicitor will be able to envisage how it can play out. It might be best to discuss this with the solicitor you are considering to hire in advance.

The personal style of the solicitor is another factor you would need to take into account. Remember that family matters are personal matters, but you need to share these details with the solicitor that you hire. Therefore it would be best to go for one who can demonstrate some empathy and understanding, rather than one who is only concerned with how much he/she is going to earn from you, and how quickly he/she can finalize your case so as to see to other ones. Each case is unique and the solicitor needs to be a person who is willing to offer you his/her time to hear you out and see what your doubts and concerns are. Legal intricacies and jargon may be too complicated for a layman to understand, and it is the solicitor’s responsibility to devote some time to explain how certain rules and laws will apply to the particular case. Therefore, it is better to find a solicitor who knows how to talk to you in plain English, rather than one who is obsessed with legalese.

Choosing a solicitor in Kent whom you feel you can trust and confide in, is another important consideration in family law matters. Moreover, if you have young children to think about before settling your divorce case, make sure you have found a solicitor who understands that apart from your financial stability your main concern is to put your kids’ needs first. If the kids’ wellbeing is your priority make this clear with your solicitor from the start. Your solicitor should place your preferences first, and work to pursue the case in a way that these can be met as best as possible.

February 20, 2016
by Rod
Comments Off on Facilities Maintenance Companies: Services They Offer

Facilities Maintenance Companies: Services They Offer

Maintaining business premises, retail outlets, department stores, offices, or other commercial establishments in good condition is certainly not easy. In most cases the area covered by such establishments is really large, and there are going to be various rooms, areas and stores to be cleaned and properly maintained, not to mention restrooms, open spaces and other facilities. Thus the services of a facilities management company become indispensable in order to maintain such facilities in good condition.

If this is not done, the building will end up dirty and shabby, and so whoever goes there to get a service or to shop will not be inclined to go again. A negative business reputation can easily be gained and hard to lose simply because of the way the facilities look. Moreover, the workers who we will be working there will not be happy with their surroundings and this will negatively affect their motivation at work as well as their productivity or efficiency. Apart from that, if the building is not maintained regularly, and if necessary maintenance issues are not done when swiftly, this will most probably result in malfunctioning equipment and end up costing more in repairs or replacements later on. All this highlights the importance of the services offered by facilities management companies.

There are facilities management companies that offer only commercial cleaning services. These include washing the floors, dusting the furniture, waste removal, cleaning restrooms, vacuuming carpets and other basic cleaning needs that have to be carried out practically on a daily basis. Some other services that are needed les regularly include window cleaning, jet washing of entrances and walkways, and more extensive carpet cleaning.

Most facilities maintenance London companies offer additional services so as to address the various other needs of commercial properties. This includes property maintenance services such as heating and gas works, electrical works, air conditioning, plumbing, carpentry and handymen services. Where there are open areas landscaping services are also provided by some companies. In fact some facilities management companies will also have specialized personnel who can see to the decorative types of services which are sometimes requested by some clients. This includes services such as painting, refurbishments, redecorating, and flower displays. External landscaping services will also be available for those who have areas outside to maintain. Grounds maintenance and decoration is a service that some facilities management companies can offer, and this will surely go a long way in making your building look more welcoming.

The key is to have an aesthetically pleasing environment and that is just what facilities management companies strive to offer to their clients. Simple cleaning is not what most business owners look for, because such premises will have more traffic which will lead to more dirt, grime and damages. A facilities management company is thus indispensable in helping you deal with these day to day needs. It is a more affordable and feasible option for most business owners who want high quality work without having to employ workers on their payroll to handle such jobs.